SAN FRANCISCO — English rockers You Me At Six brought their new album, VI, to the Great American Music Hall Thursday with a performance that blended the new album’s melodic tendencies with the band’s harsher post-hardcore older material.
Frontman Josh Franceschi took the stage in a jacket with “VI” boldly emblazoned on the back, with his four bandmates at his wings, and You Me At Six broke into the grungy VI cut “Fast Forward,” which featured the loud-quiet-loud arrangement that worked so well for Nirvana. The other new songs the band would play Thursday Franceschi and co. would hold for the latter half of their set.
Following “Lived a Lie,” from the band’s most popular record, 2014’s Cavalier Youth, You Me At Six kicked into “Reckless,” from 2011’s Sinners Never Sleep. That song got fans moving vertically. While the turnout wasn’t the strongest, the fans who did show up were as enthusiastic as at one of the band’s prime-time festival spots in the U.K., squished as far up front as possible. Franceschi seemed appreciative, taking the time to give one fan a formal handshake. After letting fans sing the song’s chorus, Franceschi closed the song with a snippet from the Killers’ “When We Were Young,” hinting at the new You Me At Six direction.
During “Loverboy,” Franceschi got down on his knees to praise guitarists Max Helyer and Chris Miller, who had the spotlight, and on new cut “Back Again” they noticeably switched up the tone with the disco-tinged dance song. The next set of songs kept hopping around between the band’s harsher, harder songs like “Night People,” “Fresh Start Fever” and Biffy-Clyro-esque “Predictable” with melodic and even poppy cuts like “Cold Night” (which, being from 2014, was a sign of things to come for You Me At Six) and new tune “3AM.”
You Me At Six didn’t really slow down until more than halfway through the show, with power ballad “Take On The World,” but the respite was short-lived as the band kicked into more aggressive material like “”IOU,” “Bite My Tongue” and “Straight to My Head.”
Los Angeles pop bands Dreamers and Machineheart opened the show, creating one heck of a synergetic lineup that was greater than the sum of its parts.
Machineheart, which has finally released its debut album, opened with a synth-heavy set, starting with anthemic rocker “Overgrown,” on which vocalist Stevie Scott had a chance to stretch out her voice and do her best Florence Welch impression. “I Had a Dream” was dark and brooding before exploding into a cacophony of echoey guitar hammering run through a delay pedal. “Do Your Love” was another atmospheric number, while “Peace of Mind,” “Who Said” and “Altar” added urgency to the mix.
Dreamers preceded You Me At Six and were the main draw to some in attendance. The band opened with bangers “SCREWS” and “Fake It Til You Make It,” from 2018 EP “Launch.” Following another song, which vocalist Nick Wold said is about California but not Northern California, Dreamers kicked into new song “Die Happy,” the first taste of what the band is working on next. While it wasn’t as energetic as the band’s other songs, it was a more fully developed track.
The band concluded its short set with “Wolves (You Got Me),” the adrenaline-pumping “Painkiller” and “Sweet Disaster.”
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